The foremost founding principle of the National Lure Coursing Club is the emphasis on sport, with a rigorous dedication of its running rules to the excellence of the competition between the dogs on the field rather than the competition between their owners on paper. The rules of NLCC lure coursing have been developed with the goal of identifying the top talent of the day’s competition, not on awarding the maximum number of dogs placements or titles.
Another founding principle is that of local club choice, on a variety of aspects of putting on a lure field trial. Primary among these choices is what running format to use – clubs can choose brace elimination, scored trios (the current one-size-fits-all format), or scored braces. Clubs also have a choice of scoring systems, using either the current category scoring, or the less subjective point tally scoring, whereby the dogs accumulate points as they run the course and are honestly first to each successive turn. The ribbons, awards and prizes (including cash prizes) clubs offer will be entirely up to them, as well as to which placements the prizes are awarded.
For those not familiar with brace elimination, it is one of the oldest of running formats in coursing, used for centuries in Britain, and to a lesser extent in America (due primarily to the number of hares it takes to run). The dogs are run in drawn pairs in a “knock-out” format similar to single elimination basketball and tennis tournaments. The dogs winning their course in the first round go on to an A bracket, while the dogs losing their first course go on to a B bracket. All dogs are guaranteed two runs on the day, and with divisions of no more than 8 dogs, not more than 3 runs are required to get to a 1st placement. All dogs will run in one Open stake (except for an optional Senior stake), so in most instances a 1st placement will be the equivalent of Best of Breed.
Brace elimination offers a number of new and exciting features to lure coursing, among them the excitement of head-to-head competition, the elimination of the need to cross-course judge, and the “instant result,” whereby the judge signals the winner at the end of each course, giving more “transparency” and less subjectivity to the judging. It works best with one judge, which will save clubs the expense of having two judges for each breed.
Since the new organization isn’t by name or mission limited to sanctioning lure trials for registered, “purebred” sighthounds only, clubs will have the choice of opening their competitions to lurchers/longdogs and other sighthound crosses.
With no need to support a large financial overhead, the NLCC offers much lower per capita fees, probably the $1 per capita charged by some racing organizations. Clubs will have the choice of passing the savings along to exhibitors by charging lower entry fees or putting the differential toward placement prizes. Keeping the overhead low will have the added advantage of keeping the organization financially viable at lower entry levels, insuring that decisions are always made for the good of the sport, not a felt need to add to the bottom line.
Taking a page from the racing organizations, the new organization will be highly internet-based, and will not need to rely on print media for dissemination of official news and trial results.
Borrowing yet another practice from racing, premium lists will not be required to be submitted for approval prior to distribution, and will not have a list of required contents as do ASFA and AKC premium lists. It is anticipated that most premium lists will be distributed via e-mail and the internet, and entries can be accepted via e-mail at the option of the host club.
Regarding titles, NLCC has a very simple title scheme based on winning percentage (1st or 2nd place) over 25 trials that will work equally well with all the running formats. The goal is to have a title that recognizes consistently excellent performance on the field rather than mere participation and persistence, and will thus be a gold standard among lure coursing titles. The aim is to avoid traveling down the path of the title tail’s wagging the dog, so that the sport is always paramount and the title considerations are secondary.
Clubs interested in holding NLCC-sanctioned lure coursing meetings can obtain information by sending e-mail to email@example.com. Lure coursing enthusiasts can also follow NLCC trials at its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/NationalLureCoursingClub.